[ About | Durand | Transcriptions | Computers ]

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Philosopher Hi, my name is Peter John Hartman. I am an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at Loyola University Chicago.

Here is my cv.

My research concerns issues in the metaphysics and mind, with a special interest in the Middle Ages. My doctoral research concerned cognitive psychology — theories about the nature and mechanism of perception and thought — during the High Middle Ages (1250-1350), with a special focus on Durand of St.-Pourçain. My supervisor was Peter King with Deborah Black and Martin Pickavé serving as committee members.

Here, you will be able to see and download some of my publications. Elsewhere on this site, you will find research information on Durand and some transcriptions of other early 14th-century philosophers I've made available. Finally, I have some information on computers.

I am part of a few research groups:

Select Publications (See also PhilPeople)

2022. [springer link] John Buridan's Questions on Aristotle's De Anima. Book I. English Translation and Latin edition. Springer.

An English translation and a Latin edition of the first book of John Buridan's question-commentary on Aristotle's De anima.

2022. [draft | doi ] "Durand of St.-Pourçain's Theory of Modes." Journal of the History of Philosophy 60.2.

Early modern philosophers, such as Descartes and Spinoza, appeal to a theory of modes in their metaphysics. Recent commentators have argued that such a theory of modes has as its primary source Francesco Suárez. In this paper, I explore one explicit source for Suárez’s view: Durand of St.-Pourçain, an early 14th-century philosopher. My aim will be mainly expository: I will put forward Durand’s theory of modes, thus correcting the persistent belief that there was no well-defined theory of modes prior to Suárez. First, I will sketch out the historical and theological context in which Durand developed his theory, briefly canvassing some of the items that he treats as modes as well. Second, I will go over the distinctive features that Durand thinks modes have. Finally, I will close with some reflection on why we should countenance modes in our ontology. Along the way, I will correct a few misconceptions about Durand’s theory of modes.

2021. [draft | doi] "Durand of St.-Pourçain on Reflex Acts and State Consciousness." Vivarium 59.3.

Some of my mental states are conscious and some of them are not. Sometimes I am so focused on the wine in front of me that I am unaware that I am thinking about it; but sometimes, of course, I take a reflexive step back and become aware of my thinking about the wine in front of me. What marks the difference between a conscious mental state and an unconscious one? In this paper, I focus on Durand of St.-Pourçain’s rejection of the higher-order theory of state consciousness, according to which a mental act is conscious when there is another, suitably related, mental (reflex) act that exists at the same time with it. Durand rejects such higher-order theories on the grounds that they violate the thesis that a given mental power can have or elicit only one mental act at a given time. I first go over some of Durand’s general arguments for this thesis. I then turn to Durand’s application of the thesis to the issue of state consciousnes and reflex acts. I close by considering the objection that Durand’s same-order theory of state consciousness makes consciousness ubiquitous.

2019. [draft | doi] "The Relation-Theory of Mental Acts: Durand of Saint-Pourçain on the Ontological Status of Mental Acts." Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy 7.

The relation-theory of mental acts proposes that a mental act is a kind of relative entity founded upon the mind and directed at the object of perception or thought. While most medieval philosophers recognized that there is something importantly relational about thought, they nevertheless rejected the view that mental acts are wholly relations. Rather, the dominant view was that a mental act is either in whole or part an Aristotelian quality added to the mind upon which such a relation to the object can be founded. In this paper, I examine Durand of St.-Pourçain's defense of the relation-theory of mental acts against two objections raised against it: the first from John Duns Scotus, among others, and the second from an anonymous Thomist and Adam Wodeham.

2019. [draft] | [doi] "Are Cognitive Habits in the Intellect? Durand of St.-Pourçain and Prosper de Reggio Emilia on Cognitive Habits." In The Ontology, Psychology and Axiology of Habits (Habitus) in Medieval Philosophy (ed. M. Roques and N. Faucher).

Once Socrates has thought something, he comes to acquire an item such that he is then able to think such thoughts again when he wants, and he can, all other things being equal, do this with more ease than he could before. This item that he comes to acquire medieval philosophers called a cognitive habit which most medieval philosophers maintained was a new quality added to Socrates' intellect. However, some disagreed. In this paper, I will examine an interesting alternative theory put forward by Durand of Saint-Pourçain and Prosper de Reggio Emilia about the location of cognitive habits. On their view, cognitive habits are not to be located in the intellect but in something on the side of the body or sensitive soul.

2018. [draft] | [doi] "Durand of St.-Pourçain and Cognitive Habits (Sent. A/B III, d. 23, qq. 1-2)." In The Language of Thought in Late Medieval Philosophy (ed. M. Roques and J. Pelletier).

Durand of Saint-Pourçain's earliest treatment of cognitive habits is contained in his Sentences Commentary, Book 3, Distinction 23. In the first two questions, he discusses the ontological status of habits and their causal role, establishing his own unique view alongside the views of Godfrey of Fontaines and Hervaeus Natalis. What follows is the Latin text and an English translation of Durand's Sentences (A/B) III, d. 23, qq. 1-2.

2017. [draft] | [doi] "Direct Realism with and without Representation: John Buridan and Durand of St.-Pourçain on Intelligible Species." In Questions on the Soul by John Buridan and Others (ed. G. Klima).

As we now know, most, if not all, philosophers in the High Middle Ages agreed that what we immediately perceive are external objects and that the immediate object of perception must not be some image present to the mind. Yet most — but not all — philosophers in the High Middle Ages also held, following Aristotle, that perception is a process wherein the percipient takes on the likeness of the external object. This likeness — called a species — is a representation (of some sort) by means of which we immediately perceive external objects. But how can perception be at once direct — or immediate — and at the same time by way of representations? The usual answer here was that the species represents the external object to some percipient even though the species itself is not at all perceived: the species is that by which I perceive and not that which I perceive. John Buridan defends this traditional view — call it direct realism with representations. However, just a couple of decades before Buridan, one of the more important philosophers at Paris, Durand of St.-Pourçain, had already rejected direct realism with representation. Durand defends what I will call direct realism without representations. On his view, a species is not at all necessary during overtly direct forms of perception, neither as cause nor as representation. This paper has two parts. In the first part, I will discuss some of the more interesting arguments that Durand makes against direct realism with representations. In the second part, I will look at Buridan's defense of the view.

2014. [draft] | [official] "Causation and Cognition: Godfrey of Fontaines and Durand of St.-Pourçain on the Cause of a Cognitive Act." In Durand of Saint-Pourçain and His Sentences Commentary: Historical, Philosophical, and Theological Issues (ed. A. Speer, F. Retucci, T. Jeshcke, G. Guldentops).

We are affected by the world: when I place my hand next to the fire, it becomes hot, and when I plunge it into the bucket of ice water, it becomes cold. What goes for physical changes also goes for at least some mental changes: when Felix the Cat leaps upon my lap, my lap not only becomes warm, but I also feel this warmth, and when he purrs, I hear his purr. It seems obvious, in other words, that perception (at least, and at least under ordinary conditions) is a matter of being affected by the agency of perceptible objects. Call this doctrine affectionism. Durand of St.-Pourçain rejects affectionism. The paper has three parts. In the first part, I sketch, briefly, what motivates Durand to reject affectionism. In the second part, I will take up the affectionist doctrine as defended by Durand's older contemporary at Paris, Godfrey of Fontaines, who holds that the object of all our mental acts (not just perceptions, but also thoughts and desires) is the efficient cause of those acts, or, in other words, all mental acts (not just perception) come about owing to the affection of the relevant mental faculty by the agency of the object. As it turns out, Godfrey develops a celebrated argument against the thesis that the object is not the efficient cause but a mere sine qua non cause. Hence his position offers a challenge to Durand's position, a challenge, I argue in the third part, Durand meets.

2013. [draft] | [official] "Thomas Aquinas and Durand of St.-Pourçain on Representation." History of Philosophy Quarterly 30.1.

Most philosophers in the High Middle Ages agreed that what we immediately perceive are external objects. Yet most philosophers in the High Middle Ages also held, following Aristotle, that perception is a process wherein the perceiver takes on the form or likeness of the external object. This form or likeness — called a species — is a representation by means of which we immediately perceive the external object. Thomas Aquinas defended this thesis in one form, and Durand of St.-Pourçain, his Dominican successor, rejects it. This paper explores Durand's novel criticism of Aquinas's species-theory of cognition. I first develop and defend a new interpretation of Durand's central criticism of Aquinas's theory of cognition. I close with some considerations about Durand's alternative to the theory.


Buridani Quaestiones super libros De anima

As a member of an international collaborative effort to produce a critical edition and complete translation of Buridan's questions on Aristotle's De anima, I am working on the critical edition and translation for Book 1. I also designed and programmed the software we are using in order to collaborate. More information is available here.

Buridani Quaestiones in decem libros Ethicorum Aristotelis ad Nicomachum

I am also working with a group of scholars to produce a translation of John Buridan's question commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. My task is Books 4 and 5.

Last modified: Tue May 03, 2022 03:00PM
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